President Bush Signs Corporate Tax Bill Without FDA Tobacco Regulation Provision
President Bush on Friday "with no fanfare" signed into law a corporate tax bill (HR 4520) that includes a $10.1 billion measure to buy out tobacco quotas but does not contain a measure to give FDA regulatory authority over tobacco products, the AP/Columbia State reports (Hunt, AP/Columbia State, 10/22).
The Senate in July voted 78-15 to approve a version of the tax bill with an FDA tobacco regulation provision. However, the version of the tax legislation passed earlier this year by the House did not include the FDA tobacco regulation provision, and a conference committee eliminated the Senate's provision from the final bill. Threats of a filibuster of the tax bill over the elimination of the FDA tobacco regulation provision fizzled after senators were promised a voice vote on a stand-alone FDA tobacco regulation bill, which the chamber then approved (California Healthline, 10/12).
However, the House "scuttled" the plan, which was supported by public health advocates and cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris USA -- the only tobacco company to favor FDA regulation, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Steven Parrish, a senior vice president of Philip Morris' parent company, Altria, said, "This lost opportunity is a huge disappointment, not only for Altria Group and ... Philip Morris USA, but for all of those who hoped to see a coherent, comprehensive national tobacco policy in this country" (Hardin, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10/23).